Three quarters of the country’s migrant reception centers are to close by September, according to government plans.
The second phase of a government scheme to deal with the fallout of the refugee crisis, which has left some 56,000 migrants stranded in Greece, foresees the closure of most facilities currently hosting migrants and their replacement with several small state facilities with better conditions. These facilities are to be modeled on a center in Elaionas, near downtown Athens, where migrants live in prefabricated homes with electricity and running water.
In comments to Kathimerini, Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas referred to “an ambitious plan that will be judged when it materializes.”
Ministry officials have already started assessing the country’s 42 reception facilities. The centers at Schisto in Attica and Diavata and Lagadikia in Thessaloniki, are among those that will be kept open. The camps at Nea Kavala and Herso, northern Greece, are among those set to close.
Over the coming days, Mouzalas is to meet with Giorgos Patoulis, who is the head of the Central Union of Municipalities, about planning for other migrant centers across the country.
Some 3,500 migrants living at the site of the old Athens airport in Elliniko and more than 1,000 camping at the port of Piraeus are to be moved to three new camps within the next 10 days.